Roger Federer made light work of Grigor Dimitrov in the final of ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, winning 6-2, 6-2 to clinch his 3rd title in Rotterdam and his 97th career title overall. In a week that will go down in history, partly due to the 45th anniversary of the Rotterdam Open, but more so due to Federer’s historic achievement of reclaiming the world #1 ranking. The legendary Swiss will officially take the number one spot on Monday when the new ATP rankings are updated.
Federer arrived in Rotterdam with an aura of invincibility after starting 2018 in blistering form after winning the Hopman Cup for Team Switzerland with Belinda Bencic, and his remarkable 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. He backed up that notion after sweeping past Belgian journeyman Ruben Bemelmans in round one for the loss of only three games. His sternest test was Philip Kohlschreiber in the second round where Federer had to dig deep to edge past the German 7-6 7-5. And in the historic quarterfinal against Robin Haase, Federer did not disappoint, coming from a set down to win the match and thereby securing the number one ranking and becoming the oldest player to do so at the age of 36.
With the spotlight beaming on whether Federer will win his 97th career total, he first saw off Andreas Seppi in semifinals before brushing aside Grigor Dimitrov in just 54 minutes to extending his winning head-to-head record to 7-0. Under the watching eyes of the Mayor of Rotterdam, the final failed to live up to its billing. Dimitrov, who reached the final courtesy of an eye injury which forced his semifinal opponent David Goffin to retire, was far from his best. It was difficult to say the Bulgarian was 100%, given that Federer broke his serve four times in less than an hour. There will certainly be better days for the Bulgarian this year, but it is Federer who collected his 97th career title, putting him only second to Jimmy Connors whose title count stands at 109.
‘’This was a memorable week, I will never forget it, ‘’ Federer said after the match. He also cited that his next objective is to try and reach 100 career titles. With the kind of form he is in, you would not put it past him to reach that number.